Like the Outer Critics Circle, the Drama League does not distinguish between Broadway and off-Broadway when doling out honors. However, all five of its winners — four productions and an individual performance — are frontrunners for the upcoming Tony Awards.
The Brit hit "Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" won the Best Play prize. Among the other seven nominees were two of its Tony competitors: "Hand to God" and "Wolf Hall: Parts 1 and 2." "The Audience" and "Constellations," which were snubbed by the Tonys, and five off-Broadway productions — "Between Riverside and Crazy," "Bootycandy," "An Octoroon," "Punk Rock" and "Scenes from a Marriage" — filled out the ballot. (Predict the Best Play race at the Tonys at the bottom of this post using our easy drag-and-drop menu and be in with a chance to win our contest)
Last year, "All the Way" went all the way here before doing the same at the Tonys. In 2013, "Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike" won over the league voters before prevailing at the Tonys. In 2012, "Other Desert Cities" triumphed here but was bested by "Clybourne Park" at the Tonys. And in 2011, "War Horse" took both prizes.
"An American in Paris" was named Best Musical edging out, among others, its Tony competition "Fun Home," "Something Rotten" and "The Visit." Two other Broadway tuners were in the running — "Finding Neverland" and "It Shoulda Been You" — and the slate was filled out with two off-Broadway hits: "Ghost Quartet" and "Hamilton."
Last year, "A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder" took this prize before winning at the Tonys. In 2013, "Kinky Boots" prevailed here first before taking the top Tony while in 2012, "Once" won here before pulling off an upset at the Tonys. And in 2011, "The Book of Mormon" recieved this honor before sweeping the Tonys.
While the League gives prizes for best play and musical as well as revivals of each genre — "You Cant Take It With You" and "The King and I" won those races — it is unique among the theater kudos in that it hands out only one award for distinguished performance. And once won, the performer cannot contend again.
This year, 47 actors competed for the honor first given to Katharine Cornell in 1935. They range from A (Usman Ally, "The Invisible Hand") to Y (Tony Yazbek, "On the Town"). The winner was theater vet Chita Rivera for her swan song to Broadway in "The Visit." She is a strong contender to win her third Tony as Best Actress (Musical).
Last year, Neil Patrick Harris won here for his star turn in "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" before claiming the Tony. In 2013, Nathan Lane won for his work in "The Nance" but lost the Tony for Best Actor to Tracy Letts ("Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?"). In 2012, Audra McDonald won for her performance in the revial of "Porgy and Bess" before claiming her record-tying fifth Tony. In 2011, Mark Rylance picked up this prize for his performances in "La Bete" and "Jerusalem" before winning the Best Actor Tony for the latter. In 2010, Alfred Molina won over the League with his work in "Red" but went on to lose the Best Actor Tony to Denzel Washington ("Fences"). And in 2009, Geoffrey Rush took home this award several weeks before prevailing at the Tonys for his performance in "Exit the King."
Gold Derby Users – just like YOU – turn out to be our smartest Tony Awards prognosticators. So, it's vital that you give us your predictions. Your picks factor into our Users racetrack odds which are a key component of Gold Derby's official (combined) odds. Make the best predictions and you could win our contest prize: a $100 Amazon gift certificate and a place of honor in our famous leaderboards. (Be sure to take notice of the finer points of our contest rules HERE.)
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